That's it. I'm hooked.
The NHL puts a fantastic product on the ice and Seattle must have a team as soon as humanly possible.
The Los Angeles Kings just won a double-overtime thriller against the New York Rangers to take the Stanley Cup with a 4-1 series victory. Three of the Kings' victories came in overtime matches on their own ice. Two of them came in double overtime.
I also watched both conference finals. Every game was exciting and most were suspenseful to the end.
If you didn't watch any of this, you missed something exhilarating and special. Hockey is surprisingly cerebral and strategic, yet violent and bloodrushingly chaotic. They've frozen lightning in a bottle.
The goalie position might be the most difficult to play in all of sports. You must be a contortionist with the hand-eye coordination of a big league hitter in baseball. Consider the following Twitter exchange I had with KIRO sports programming director and NHL fanatic Mike Salk:
@RPaulRogers Dunno,but he has to do it on skates...— Mike Salk (@TheMikeSalk) May 29, 2014
Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers and Jonathan Quick for the Kings were both masterful at minding the net for the entire series. Lundqvist single-handedly carried his team in the third period to get to overtime in the deciding game.
Hockey is way better on the screen than it ever was before the onset of high definition television. It's much easier to follow the puck and the camera can cover much more of the rink than in the old days.
As enjoyable as the TV experience is, however, any hockey fan will tell you that it's exponentially more exciting in person.
Just imagine if we had this in Seattle. It would be a beautiful thing.
I'm starting to get the hang of watching this game. The off-sides rule is beginning to make sense. I can usually recognize icing the puck when I see it. I'm starting to understand the thrill when a home team kills a power play. Heck, my eyes are even better at detecting the puck.
Not bad after roughly a month of watching the sport, but I have a long way to go.
So let's get this league to Seattle. I understand the complications, but my declaration stands.
I still desperately want my Supersonics back. I've also been watching the NBA playoffs and that league, even with all of our baggage with it, still puts out a wonderful product. But while we're waiting for the return of the Green and Gold, I really wish there were a way to make an NHL-first scenario work in Seattle.
That said, it's wrong to insist that Chris Hansen and the councils modify the MOU, unless NHL investors kick in their fair share of the arena investment, and it's wrong to get mad at Hansen for not wanting to be the primary investor in a hockey team when his passion lies elsewhere.
Let me say this, though: yes, it's wrong to insist, and yes, it's wrong to get mad, but it's okay to wish and it's okay to hope in the shadow of long odds.
I've noticed some tension recently between NBA and NHL fans around here and I wish it would stop. We need to remember that we are in this together. We've been in it together since we first learned Hansen's name. We needed each other then and we need each other now.
We need both leagues for this arena to work, so let's get it done.